Hosting a Cookie Exchange About One Week Ahead: When you know how many people will be participating, you can figure out how many cookies each person will need to bring. For instance, if you want people to go home with 1 dozen of each cookie type to share with their families, and you are having 5 people plus yourself (6 people total) over for the exchange, guests will have to bring 6 dozen of their cookies. Let guests know the amount they will need to bring. If the number of people participating in the exchange gets too high and let’s say 10 dozen cookies sounds like too much for people to bake and bring, you could cut it down to each person getting 1/2 dozen of each cookie to take home instead of a full dozen. This cuts down on the amount of baking. When celebrating the Holiday Season, it's nice to remember the less fortunate. One way is when speaking with guests, ask them if they would like to bring a non-perishable food item that the group could use in creating a food basket to donate to a local charity. A Day or Two Ahead: Remind folks to bring large containers for collecting and taking their cookies home. When they get home they can divide and wrap up their “stash” to give out as they please. Bake your own cookies and store them in airtight containers or freeze them. Try to have your house clean the day before the party so that on the day of the exchange, you can just tidy and turn on carols. Spend a few minutes decorating and preparing an area to display the cookies. This could mean clearing off the dining room table, or setting up a large folding table in the living room. Wherever space allows! Have large platters or even clean box bottoms ready for cookies to be displayed in on the display area. Have a selection of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, sparkling water, fruit juices or other refreshing beverages to enjoy. Finally.... As guests arrive have them place their cookies on a platter or in a box you have set up in your display area. Place copies of the recipe alongside each cookie. Enjoy some holiday music, delicious food and each other’s company. Then, each person takes the large container they brought with them, walks around the table and takes their fair share of cookies, whether it is 1/2 dozen of each type or 1 dozen of each type. Everyone goes home with a great assortment of home-baked cookies for the holiday season! And all they had to do was bake one kind! After all is said and done, you may have just started a wonderful holiday tradition! Twists to this idea are endless. You could have a group of mothers and daughters get together. Or a group of coworkers could get together after work one evening. Or perhaps a set of neighbors joining forces on a Saturday afternoon. Regardless of who or where, the idea of “many hands make light work” surely applies when it comes to a cookie exchange!